Toys

The 10 Most Awesome Things to Do With Legos

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I had three things that I really loved when I was a kid: my sock monkey, my Lab, and my Legos. As I got older, the sock monkey fell apart and the Lab got lazy. My Legos, though,  never failed me. Needless to say, I really like Legos. Even now that I’m in college, I have Legos sitting on my dorm room’s windowsill, and I’m super-excited about the upcoming release of the Lord of the Rings Legos. I must say that I’m proud of Lego for bringing back the old-style sets like City and Space. Here’s a list of the top ten things to do with Legos.

  1. Crasher Cars — This was one of my favorite games that I used to play with my friends (Jeff and Josh). The first step is for each player to build a vehicle of some sort. A Lego minifigure is placed in the car, but he has to be visible. The cars are then propelled towards each other with great force. The goal is to have your minifigure still attached to the largest chuck of Lego pieces, you get a bonus if your car doesn’t break. You get parent bonuses if you don’t break anything in the house.
  2. Ships/Boats — Lego has always had some really cool nautical sets with boats that actually float. Legos always improved any childhood bathing experience. I don’t recommend this for older children; college-aged student playing with Legos in the shower is a bit strange.
  3. Flying Devices — I must admit, the aerodynamics of the spaceships, planes, and other flying devices that I built were not always the greatest, but I had some cool looking spaceships! With guns. Lots and lots of guns. 
  4. Cranes — I had a thing for winches, pulleys, and rope. I really liked those little hand-cranked Lego winches; they have to be one of my favorite pieces. I was always making and improving crane designs.
  5. Minifigure Armies — Like any boy, I really loved playing war. My Legos didn’t often escape the conflicts that raged through my room and house. The minifigures were often conscripted into armies made up of all sorts of toys, imaginary and real. Unfortunately for me, my parents frowned upon the use of explosives–a rule my minifigures were most thankful for. 
  6. Star Wars — Star Wars Legos have to be some of the best Legos ever produced. From the tiny lightsaber duel sets to the massive “collector” level models of Blockade Runners and Star Destroyers, Lego really put a lot of effort into the plastic re-creations of the cult-classic film series. Join the dark side, we have awesome plastic stormtroopers. 
  7. Movie Reenactment — I never actually filmed any of the movies that we reenacted, but I know that we did recreate a lot of movie scenes with Legos. Sure, they might have featured divers as soldiers and police minifigures as shop owners, but I’m sure the critics over-looked those minor details.
  8. Castles/Buildings — I really like castles and medieval times, so castles were always a favorite construction project. Of course, the best part of building any castle is the destruction. Many different demolition methods were used, often consisting of catapults and rampant time-traveling motor vehicles.
  9. Lightsabers — I know I already mentioned Star Wars, but I think lightsabers are important enough to be in a category of their own. The multi-colored translucent rods are some of the simplest and best Lego weapons.
  10. Robotics — Finally, I have to mention Lego Mindstorms. Used even today in high schools and college engineering programs, these kits are really cool. My school uses them along with a professional data analysis program for introductory programming and data acquisition projects.

That’s just a taste of some of the things that you can do with Legos. I’d love to hear some of your favorite Lego-related stories. I’ll leave you with this video of an awesome Lego Rube-Goldberg machine.

May the Force Be With You,
~XK

59 Reasons a Rubber Ducky is Better than an iPad

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You know it to be true, but let me reinforce the statement with some cold, squeaky quacks, err… facts. Here are 59 reasons why rubber duckies are better than iPads.

  1. They don’t require recharging.
  2. They’re far cheaper.
  3. They squeak.
  4. They’re far cuter.
  5. No cables required.
  6. They’re usually yellow.
  7. They have beaks.
  8. You can play with them in the tub. Safely.
  9. They never crash.
  10. You don’t have to update them every year.
  11. They’re more compact.
  12. They’re far lighter.
  13. You can throw them at your friends.
  14. You can use them to play fetch with your dog.
  15. You can throw them into a pool.
  16. They can be used on a plane–even during take-off and landing.
  17. They work in any language.
  18. They don’t need 3G or Wifi.
  19. You can write on them.
  20. You can hit them with a baseball bat.
  21. You can drop them from a window.
  22. You can fling them from a catapult.
  23. They work well as profile pictures.
  24. They cross cultural bounds.
  25. They can be used to safely amuse small children.
  26. They never tell you anything you don’t want to hear.
  27. They don’t require a password to use.
  28. You can buy them at a dollar store.
  29. You don’t have to keep them dry.
  30. They need no special cases.
  31. They don’t need a screen protector.
  32. If they do take over the world, that’ll be alright.
  33. You can’t take pictures with them, but you can take pictures with them.
  34. You can use them as puppets.
  35. You can carry them in your pockets.
  36. Having multiple doesn’t make you look like a tool.
  37. It’s not illegal to hack them, but it is cruel.
  38. They can be crushed and still function.
  39. They don’t freeze unless it’s cold.
  40. They can safely pass through a washing machine.
  41. Rain does not bother a ducky.
  42. Rubber duckies were featured on Sesame Street.
  43. They don’t conduct electricity.
  44. If you lose your iPad, you’re out at least $400.
  45. You can buy rubber duckies in bulk.
  46. They come in many different themes.
  47. Nobody ever complains about a ducky’s lack of Flash support.
  48. Rubber duckies come with all of the upgrades you’ll ever need.
  49. You can color on them with sharpies.
  50. Nobody ever has to ask you which version you have.
  51. You never have to worry about purchasing more apps for them.
  52. Hotels sometimes give them away.
  53. You can safely tape them to ceilings.
  54. Rubber duckies inspire love, not envy.
  55. Rubber duckies never lose your contacts.
  56. Rubber duckies cause no brand wars.
  57. They never die.
  58. Your friends can’t hack your Facebook with your ducky.
  59. Patent wars held over rubber duckies are far more amusing.

There you have it. 59 reasons why rubber duckies are better than iPads. Really, it’s a personal decision, but you see where my loyalties lie. iPads are pretty and all, and sure, they’re good for some things, but they’ll never replace the rubber duckies.

Cheers!
~XK

Play-Doh

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For those of you with iTouches, iPhones, iPads, or any number of capacitive screen devices. (Touch-screens with glass faces that are mostly multi-touch.) I have found a cheap, fun stylus that you can use! After much research and many years of toil upon the subject*, it has been found that Play-Doh works wonderfully as a stylus! Mold the handle into any shape, use multiple colors, and find it in any kid’s store!

There are a few downsides… Play-doh will dry out if I remember correctly, you will get strange looks at airports, and your hands smell like play-doh after every use (not necessarily a bad thing.)

So, try it out! Just think, a fun, edible stylus that you can use on your iPhone whenever you wish… What? You didn’t eat Play-Doh…?

* Not really, I actually discovered this while looking up castle embrasures and crenelations… I had Play-Doh in my hand… okay?